Dogs and cats are cute - puppies and kittens are even cuter. And they’re pretty much a rainbow explosion of adorability when they’re sitting underneath a Christmas tree wearing a big red bow.
But you know what’s not so cute? The increased numbers of animals that are turned into shelters after the holidays are over. Because a pet is about more than a photo op, it’s a 10-20 year commitment of your time, energy, love, and money.
So what if you want to get someone a pet for Christmas? Well, it might be the perfect gift - as long as you follow these important guidelines.
Do not surprise someone with a pet - especially an adult!
Even if you are sure that your loved one wants to get a pet, it should be up to the pet owner to decide if they are ready to take on the responsibility. Additionally, the bond between a pet and an owner is a special thing. Choosing a pet is very personal, and it’s important that the prospective adopter actually be present when the animal is chosen.
It’s best to give a pet a few weeks before or at least a week after the holidays.
Holidays are stressful enough for the people and pets already in a home. New decorations, family members hanging around, parties, noise - all of these things can freak out even the most well-adjusted cat or dog. Bringing a new animal into a home is also stressful. Don’t make it hard on yourself or your new furry friend by combining stressors.
Ok, so you’ve thought it through and you’ve decided that it would be appropriate to give someone a pet as a gift. Here’s how to do it.
Give the recipient a large wrapped box full of pet supplies and a coupon for the animal of their choice. It’s ok to offer to go with them to pick out the pet, but don’t push. It might take a couple of visits for the adopter to find their perfect fit.
If you absolutely must give a pet during the holidays, remember:
- Plan on spending quiet time at home so bonding with the new owner can occur and the pet will learn that home is a safe environment.
- Clean up all the present wrappings before introducing the new pet. The new pet should be the last present received.
- No parties at your home and limit the time you are away from home.
- Make your house pet safe.